Going Touchless at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport

July 26, 2020
Going Touchless at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport

Effective operations is not just about doing things right, it’s about doing the right things.  Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) has emerged as the busiest airport in the world with the recent collapse in air travel due to the coronavirus.  These unexpected conditions have required a sharp and timely pivot for long-planned capital and operating plans.

DFW has the advantage of being both the home base and major hub of one of the world’s largest air carriers, American Airlines.  In addition to the summer ramp up in flights (though still substantially off the usual activity for this time of year), airlines have implemented their own changes by relying on more hub and spoke operations requiring less overall flights routing through central hubs.

DFW is responding to the “new normal” by emphasizing sanitation measures and moving to a more self-service model in luggage check-in and boarding.  Technology is being applied to expedite these changes and simultaneously increasing efficiency (with a 20% reduction in operating costs expected).

This quick response and re-focus of competitive priorities has allowed DFW to maintain and to improve its ability to serve both airlines and wary customers.

Video Spotlight: American Airlines to Lift Capacity Caps on Flights (June 26, 2020, CNBC Television)

This post is based on the Reuters article, Touchless: How the World’s Busiest Airport Envisions Post-COVID Travel, by Tracy Rucinski, July 12, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / PR Image Factory

Discussion Questions:

1.  How have current conditions changed the service delivery model for DFW?

Guidance: Current conditions have accelerated a move to self-service (i.e., testing new “no touch” baggage check-in technologies). The focus has shifted from efficient operations to an emphasis on safety and sanitation. DFW is managing and prioritizing capital spending to rapidly implement new operations protocols (i.e., biometric screening and boarding).

2. What changes has American Airlines implemented during the crisis?

Guidance: American Airlines has sharply cut back flights, with greater reliance on a hub-and-spoke model (or, reducing direct flying between non-major airports). AA also announced as of July 1st that it will no longer limit seat sales to seventy percent of capacity (as noted in CNBC’s YouTube video).


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